What Are The Steps In International Shipping?

what are the steps in international shipping?

Want a product from a European catalogue? Done ✅

Want an Avocado from Mexico? ✅

Want a makeup product from USA? ✅ 

From wanting foreign products to having food grown in the Mediterranean on your plate, international shipping makes all of Earth seem like the ‘small world’ people keep talking about! 

And seamless transition of products by land, air, or sea makes this happen. 

However, the need to follow bureaucratic protocols and countless foreign laws often imposes a challenge.

Due to this, the majority of import and export enterprises use freight forwarding services to ship their freight.

However, international shipping is now mainly done in order to make the goods more valuable.

A significant number of smaller businesses today need international transportation as a result of the e-commerce industry’s explosive growth.

International shipping is often a little more expensive and hectic than domestic delivery due to the amount of resources required to get a parcel from one country to another.

Let’s now look into the complete international shipping process step by step:

1. Requesting a freight price

Constant communication with all of your network’s freight forwarders is crucial. Shipping dates, port of origin, port of destination, commodities & packing data, and the kind of freight, prior to requesting the freight quotes have to be provided.

Once this is decided, you may begin receiving quotations from your freight forwarders or opt to use a digital freight forwarder to automate this process and begin receiving quotes immediately.

2. Choosing the right freight forwarders

The next step is to choose the freight forwarder or carrier whose rates and other aspects, such as network and support, best meet your needs after receiving an estimate.

There are approximately more than 10,000 freight forwarders. The sole distinction between the two is that with a digital freight forwarder, quotes are provided on a real-time basis, and the shipping process is monitored via a digital app, allowing exporters to see their supply chain.

3. Getting the documents ready

Keeping the documents ready becomes another essential step that needs to be looked upon. However, what documents are we talking about here? Let’s take a look:

– A global transaction, known as the ‘performa invoice’ with the desired quote would work and can be utilized to secure finance, establish a letter of credit, request import permits, and more.

– After sending the Performa invoice and receiving the order, you must get the product ready for shipping and gather the necessary paperwork. And here’s where the commercial invoice comes in frame.

This file contains information like when and where to sell, details about the vendor (name, contact, address), information for buyers (name, contact, address), merchandise description, nation of shipment, a signature, the signer’s name, and the signing date.

The terms and conditions on the document include further information.

The packing list specifies the quantity of the shipment as well as its weight and size.

– The certificates of origin are official documents that attest to the accuracy of the nation name on the commercial invoice and packing list.

– The shipper’s letter of instructions contains all the information required to transport the products from one location to another.

– A bill of lading is a legally binding document that specifies the kind, quantity, and final destination of the goods being transported.

– The International Air Transport Association (IATA) or the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issues this form for items that they deem to be harmful (IMO)

Money Order: A bank draught is essential since it is utilized to exchange money from the buyer for the seller’s ownership of the exported goods.

4. Confirming the details of shipment

When you are finished with the shipping procedure preparations, you need to make sure to double-check and validate the shipment details.

It is important to confirm the shipment’s origin, the B/L number, the quantity and type of containers, and the reference type and number.

5. Sending the carrier a booking request or delivery order

Once everything has been confirmed, you may now reserve your freight company. Simply update all the information with the chosen freight forwarder.

Details like the container’s type, origin date, origin location, and destination date and location. Once they’ve finished the booking and payment, wait for them to send your booking to the shipping line.

6. Tracking the shipment activities

You can begin tracking your shipment as soon as the freight forwarder emails you to confirm your reservation. They provide more than simply online tracking and real-time administration; they also provide platforms for organizing invoices, documents, and contracts.

7. Passing the package through customs at the port of entry

Customs will assess your shipment and determine if it satisfies all of the conditions set forth by customs. If it does, your cargo won’t have a problem and can proceed without stopping. If not, however, your shipment will be kept in customs’ custody until the remaining amount is paid.

8. Paying the invoice for taxes and customs fees

You must pay the forwarder directly for the customs charges and taxes shown on this bill, which also includes the forwarder’s fees. Numerous forwarders refuse to accept payment by check or bank transfer. The costs will also be billed to you directly when an inspection service request is made.

9. Receiving your package finally

If everything goes according to the steps, you will get the shipment as soon as it arrives at the port!



International shipping is complex due to time zones, language barriers, currency conversions, laws/regulations, unlike domestic shipping.

However, you and your consumer base will gain if you are prepared to study and comprehend how to send goods overseas properly and successfully.

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